The Paragon of Iranian Intellectuals

The author characterizes Meskoob, a close friend of his father's, was much more than a successful writer and popular literary figure. He was also a gentle and angelic human being who had, for decades regaled him with his humor folksy tales and innumerable acts of kindness. He was, according to the author a voracious reader and tireless researcher who was a master of Persian language. No one could read Meskoob's Dar Kooye Dust [In the Presence of the Beloved] or Soog-e Syavosh [Mourning Syavosh] and not be impressed by his powerful pen and his mastery of the writer over Persian mythology and literary traditions. One may safely assume, the author suggests, that each one of his essays and books alone elevate him to a unique and lofty place among Iranian writers and social and literary critics.

Meskoob's social and literary life was, according to the author, further distinguished by his abiding and constant commitment to ethical principles, and a self-critical attitude that must ideally inform the life of a true intellectual. It was, moreover, his belief in a set of humanistic values that led him first to immerse himself in ancient Zaratushtrian texts, and later to membership in the Tudeh party. His ethical bearings also led him to adopt a critical attitude towards Iranian intellectual scene. Not unlike Julien Benda, the early twentieth century French philosopher and the author of The Treason of Intellectuals, Meskoob, in a break with most Iranian intellectuals of his generation, firmly believed in universal human values. Thus, he deemed the future of a modern society of Iran to be closely tied to the general social and political developments in democratic societies.

Ramin Jahanbegloo
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